So, all the worry, manic organising, running around town picking up prizes, taping warning signs to stone pillars is over for another year and boy did we have fun! 39 cyclists came, rode a 9% gradient for 900m all in the name of cycle sport. 

The Hill Climb In Numbers

The winning time 2:46.42 by Rob Gough was just 3 seconds off his 2009 course. All of the podium riders broke the 2:50 barrier with the top six going under 3 minutes, the top 16 sub 3:30 and 29 riders under 4 minutes. Bristol South CC came, saw and pretty much conquered, breaking the team record with 8:33.24. The standard of hill climbing locally is in rude health. 

In Their Own Words

Jason Bahandari (Velorunner) – Last year was the first time I experienced the lung bursting delights of a hill climb.  for those not frequented with the concept of the hill climb they are generally organised by cycling clubs to mark the end of a season and involve riders racing, one at a time usually with a space of a minute between each other, from start to finish up chosen hill as fast as they can with the fastest person winning, it is a simple as that.  I would argue it is a discipline more suited to the puncheur than the mountain goat since hill climbs are generally short steep affairs…..after completing a 30 minute warm up on the rollers in bath universities car park I cycled to the bottom of the course. Cold mist hung low against the base of Claverton Hill where riders congregated waiting for their turn to race up the Walcot Wall.  Some chatted casually, their smiles masking the anxiety of the effort levels they were about to exert.  Others including myself cycled up and down short stretches of claverton village’s pretty lanes trying to keep ourselves busy and warm.  As my time approached I tentatively rode to the starting position where Laurie and the time keeper were starting riders off.  I would go at 10.25am and in less than 4 minutes it would be all over.  The time keeper counted me down as Laurie held my bike frame, I clipped in to the pedals 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!

More here: Velorunner

Paul Jones (Traumfahrrad) – The VC Walcot Climb was up first. The weather was perfect, slightly cold but without a breath of wind and deliciously dry undertub. I unleashed the fixed wheel and it met with almost universal acclaim – the bike, not the rider. People were drawn to the lovely orange finish and the clean lines. There were a few other specialist hillclimb machines in attendance. Tavis Walker had taken a hacksaw and a drill to a rather comely Cervelo R3 in the pursuit of lightness. The construction of a hill weapon is possibly much more fun that the riding of the aforementioned hill weapon. Tav also spaced out a rear cassette to provide only 4 cogs on the back. I opted for a 57″ gear in the end, and it proved spot on for the steady gradient of Claverton Hill. There was a significant crowd at the event and I issued the wife with a cowbell to ring repeatedly and with gusto. A student turned up with some pots and pans to add to the cacophony of noise.  By the time i was barrelling up the hill they also had managed to amplify a recorded version of “Olé, olé olé”. It’s great to ride through a crowd of people shouting. Tom yelled right in my face as I came past: “ignore the pain, IGNORE THE PAIN”, and i tried my best to ignore the horrible, unrelenting pain in my legs and lungs.

More here: Traumfahrrad

Well done to ‘4-in-a-row’ Rob and the rest of the riders, thanks to our sponsors this year Avon Valley Cyclery, Green Park Bikestation, John’s Bikes, Society Cafe and il Soigneur. Marshals and roadside support you were awesome and made sure everybody enjoyed their racing.

Full results on the CTT website. 

Betty Bhandari photos

Anthony Grimley photos

Paul Jones photos

Open Hill Climb 2012……..over and out.